Monday, March 29, 2010


In Mongolia, where a BBC report estimates that about one million farm animals have died, the people are waiting for a spring that never seems to come. Sheep and goats and cows ... dead and dying.

At this time of year, shoots of edible grass would usually be poking their heads up, but the bitter winter persists and where animals die, people are sure to follow.

Interesting to notice what we don't notice. Interesting to know what we didn't know before. Interesting how the mind and heart can feel pity and sorrow up to a point ... and then no further.

Usually, when the loving or self-important heart feels sadness at the plight of another, it seems fitting: I don't want to die; you don't want to die; he/she/or it does not want to die. We pride ourselves on our sympathies and caring ... and it's probably not a bad thing, given the numbers who just don't give a shit.

But when there is some recognition that there isn't the capacity or will or largeness of spirit (except among the imaginative or delirious) to feel sorry for all the events worthy of that sorrow, there is a halt. It is as if our sympathy machine breaks down and feels somehow insulted. "I can't do it all," some voice cries out.

And that is precisely right: I can't do it all. Those who prance around pretending they can do it all grate rightfully on the nerves: Cut the bullshit! Here we stand ... and I can't do it all: I have been chastened by reality and....and....and...

Usually it all gets shoved in the back of the closet, conveniently forgotten so that the loving or self-important heart can remain blissfully unchallenged. No one wants to feel insignificant and yet the sorrows of the world point out that insignificance sharply.

But I think it is better to be challenged and to meet that challenge. How long can anyone believe their own nonsense? Don't answer that ... the answer is a long, long time. But for those disinclined to rely on the words from one pulpit or another, I think it is possible to reflect a little and make peace with the fact we all offer to the world what we can when we can. And we do not offer what we do not have. And all of this has no certain outcome. It is neither good nor bad, virtuous nor venal ... it is just what happens ...

After a little reflection, I think it is possible to meet the challenge where sheep and goats and cows die or grow strong.

1 comment:

  1. Cut the bullshit! Here we stand ... and I can't do it all

    Spot on.